Mon, Dec 27, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Pakistan regains footing in test


Pakistani batsman Younis Khan lobs a stroke from the bowling of Australian Glenn McGrath during their test match at the MCG in Melbourne, yesterday.


Stand-in captain Yousuf Youhana blazed his maiden hundred against Australia as Pakistan rebounded from a drubbing in Perth to reach 318 for six at stumps yesterday on the opening day of the second cricket test.

The tourists were cruising at 286 for three before losing three late wickets, with Jason Gillespie snaring wickets in consecutive overs with the second new ball after Shane Warne had Yousuf stumped by Adam Gilchrist for 111.

It was a major improvement on the two failures in last week's first test in Perth, where Pakistan was skittled for 179 and 72 and thrashed by 491 runs.

Youhana, elevated to the captaincy when Inzamam-ul-Haq pulled out of the Boxing Day match with a lingering back problem, went to the crease with Pakistan at 94 for three after a mini top-order collapse.

He shared a record 192-run partnership with Younis Khan (87) and faced 134 balls, clobbering 11 boundaries and four sixes to raise his 12th career test hundred before he was stumped down the legside.

Youhana and Younis' partnership surpassed the 177 between Youhana and Saeed Anwar at Brisbane in 1999 as Pakistan's record for the fourth wicket against Australia.

At stumps, Kamran Akmal was unbeaten on 16 and Abdul Razzaq batted for 36 minutes and was unbeaten on one.

In Inzamam's absence, Youhana won the toss and opted to bat first in a bid to erase some bitter memories from the series-opener.

In his only other test as captain, Youhana guided Pakistan to an eight-wicket win over South Africa at Lahore in October last year.

"It's very special for me because against the best bowling attack I made a hundred," said Youhana.

The first Christian to captain Pakistan's national lineup, Youhana said the timing of the match was good for him.

New Zealand versus Sri Lanka

Stephen Fleming scored an unbeaten 77 yesterday to lead New Zealand to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first of five limited-overs cricket internationals.

The New Zealand captain batted for 33 overs for his 38th half century in one-day internationals, helping his team pass Sri Lanka's meager total of 141 with 17 overs to spare.

Showing few effects of the virus which limited his form on New Zealand's recent tour of Australia, Fleming struck eight fours and two sixes to guide New Zealand's run chase.

He shared partnerships of 57 for the second wicket with Matthew Sinclair (31), 37 with Scott Styris (12) and an unbroken 43-run stand with Hamish Marshall, who was 14 not out at the end.

Marshall struck the final ball of Upul Chandana's seventh over past point for four to post the winning runs.

Earlier, all-rounder Chris Cairns took 4-33 as New Zealand dismissed Sri Lanka in 42 overs.

Bowling second change, Cairns ran through the tourists' middle order after Fleming had won the toss and decided to bowl in damp, overcast conditions.

Accurate opening spells by Kyle Mills and Daryl Tuffey, returning from injury, reduced Sri Lanka to 18-3 in six overs and Cairns' eventful spell allowed New Zealand to keep the upper hand.

He slipped bowling only his third delivery of the match, turning an ankle, but he continued to bowl, completing eight accurate and demanding overs.

Opener Sanath Jayasuriya (43) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (48), batting No. 6, provided the only concerted resistance as the under-prepared visitors struggled in New Zealand conditions.

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